Greece Says Cannot Become Gateway to EU for Fleeing Afghans

Athens -
Afghan migrants demonstrate against the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, August 16, 2021. (REUTERS/Elias Marcou)

Greece cannot become a gateway into the European Union for Afghans fleeing the escalating conflict in their homeland, Migration Minister Notis Mitarachi said on Tuesday, calling for a common EU response to the crisis.

“We are clearly saying that we will not and cannot be the gateway for Europe for the refugees and migrants who could try to come to the European Union,” Mitarachi told state television ERT.

Mitarachi reiterated calls for a common EU response as unity between EU member states over whether to deport failed Afghan asylum-seekers crumbled last week.

Greece was on the front line of Europe’s migration crisis in 2015, when nearly a million people fleeing conflict in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan landed on its islands before traveling north to wealthier European countries.